The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
Subscribe to RSS
Back to The Stark Truth

Archive for July, 2011

Ichiro’s swing ‘a thing of wonder, not a thing of beauty’

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Here’s an interesting tribue to Ichiro that was posted in deadspin.com.

Ichiro’s unique batting stroke “is a thing of wonder, not a thing of beauty,” writes Barry Petchesky.

He doesn’t address Ichiro’s base-running, another thing of wonder. You wonder how such a talented player could make so many bone-headed plays while running the bases. It baffles the mind to see him picked off first, or take off for third on a ball hit at the shortstop. But Petchesky’s right: bad base running and all, he’s still a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Any thoughts on the M’s deal that sent pitchers Doug Fister and David Pauley to Detroit for outfielder Casper Wells, reliever Charlie Furbush, third-base prospect Francisco Martinez and a player to be named?

“We felt that today’s deal provided us the opportunity to acquire several players that are at or near Major League-ready and we could control for five to six years, all of whom have upside potential,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement.

This seems like a really good deal for the Tigers, and it has the potential to be a really good deal for the Mariners. the player to be named later is reportedly one of the Tigers’ top young prospects.


Seahawks: Free Agency Game Continues

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times put together an easy-to-follow chart of the Seahawks’ free agency business.

You find out who they’ve got deals with, what free agents are going elsewhere and a list of Seattle’s remaining free agents. Remember, contracts can’t be signed until Friday.

Defensive lineman Brandon Mebane, one of the Seahawks’ top priorities, has been talking to Seattle and Denver.

And O’Neil reports that wide receiver Brandon Stokley’s decision to sign with Washington was premature. He’s now back on the market, according to his agent.

And I’m glad to see there’s somebody else, besides myself, who isn’t down on Charlie Whitehurst. John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune. He reminds us that Whitehurst was 22-for-36 for 192 yards and a touchdown in the playoff-clinching win over the Rams when Matt Hasselbeck was hurt. And he did it with 0 fumbles and 0 interceptions.

I also agree with Peter King of SI.com, who says that Hasselbeck deserves to be lumped into a category with guys like John Olerud and Edgar Martinez in Seattle sports history. You’d be hard-pressed to find a pro athlete who represented the city of Seattle any better than Hasselbeck during his years with the Seahawks.

 


Whitehurst/Jackson over Hasselbeck makes sense to me

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Wouldn’t you like to have really known what was going on when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell  and the rest of the franchises’s brain trust sat down to discuss their quarterback situation?

Take off your 12th Man jersey for a second. If you look at it objectively, the Seahawks did the right thing, right?

Matt Hasselbeck: Great guy, team leader, but he is gonna be 36 in September, is injury prone and his best years are behind him. It won’t be long before he joins older younger brother, Tim, as an analyst on ESPN. Wish him well, but it’s time to move on. You know that’s what the Seahawks’ braintrust was thinking. The Hawks will miss kicker Olindo Mare, who is headed to Carolina, more than Hasselbeck.

Tarvaris Jackson: Great athlete, big arm, mobile, knows the system that’s going to be put in place. Has a career completion percentage of 58.7 percent. Hasselbeck was 59.9 last year. Bevell was the offensive coordinator at Minnesota, which drafted Jackson in the second round out of Alabama State. Nobody in the league knows him better than Bevell, who must have recommended him to Carroll. This is a new start for Jackson, who has 20 starts under his belt. If  the Vikings had not gone after Brett Favre, Jackson might be a star right now. Or not. We’re going to find out.

Kevin Kolb: Kolb must have come up in the conversation. He seemed like a good fit for Seattle, having operated a West Coast offense in Philadelphia. He blew his opportunityh in Philly a year ago, and was pushed aside byMichael Vick.  The Seahawks must have have been tempted by Kolb, but with Bevell running the offense, Jackson is a better gamble. Don’t ya think?

Charlie Whitehurst: The jury’s still out on Whitehurst, a.k.a. Clipboard Jesus. I think he’ll be the starter when the Seahawks open the season. If Seattle can become a physical team that relies on the run, Whitehurst will be a good fit. He’s been inconsistent with his deep throws, but I think that’s mostly because of his inconsistent opportunites. I don’t know why everybody’s so down on the guy. He hasn’t really been given a legit shot as a starter. He throws a great ball and he did perform well in a 16-6 win over the St. Louis Rams to get the Hawks into the postseason. Knowing that he’s the guy coming into camp might be enough to get him to that next level.

Matt Leinart: I thought he’d find his way to Seattle, but when word came down that the Hawks were signing Jackson, Leinart oopted to stay in Texas instead of competing for a job with the Seahawks.

Seattle didn’t seem to have any other QB options. It came down to Hasselbeck or Whitehurst/Jackson. I think Carroll, Schnieder and Co.  made the right decision. Don’t expect a Super Bowl run, but the Hawks might have enough to make a run for another NFC West title.

And whether it’s Whitehurst or Jackson, you gotta like the fact they’ll be throwing to 6-foot-4 Sidney Rice and 6-5 Mike Williams, on paper the  best receiving tandem the Hawks have had in years.


PDL Playoffs: Pumas-Fusion III

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The Kitsap Pumas, champs of the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division, face the Ventura County Fusion in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday in Fresno. The host Fresno Fuego take on the Victoria Highlanders in the other match. Winners play Sunday. Victoria handed Kitsap its first league loss, 1-0, in the regular-season finale.

The Pumas and Fusion have met twice before in the playoffs. Ventura won in 2009 in Texas; Kitsap won in 2010 in Bremerton. Here’s a story from our sister Scripps Howard newspaper, the Ventura Star, on the matchup.

And here’s another story from the Ventura Star on the game.

The United Soccer Leagues has started handing out postseason honors.

Here’s a story about the PDL playoffs, which started on Tuesday.  Here’s the results of Tuesday’s games:

Chicago Fire 3, Forest City London 0

Carolina Dynamo 1, Northern Virginia Royals 0

Jersey Express 1, Reading United AC 0

New Hampshire Phantoms 1, MPS Portland Phoenix 0

Scroll to the bottom of this page to find the matchups. There are more games coming up on Friday.


Louisville Slugger’s loses appeal over pitcher’s death in Montana

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Interesting story about the state of Montana Supreme Court upholding verdict against Louisville Slugger in Legion pitcher’s death in 2006.

The court ruled that Louisville Slugger didn’t communicate to players the potential risk of harm due to the aluminum bat’s increased speed. Wonder what  impact of this ruling will have onmanufacturers making aluminum bats?


Troy Kelly by the numbers

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Former Kitsap Golf & Country Club member and ex-Washington Husky Troy Kelly, who ranks No. 4 on the Nationwide Tour money list and Kyle Reifers, who is No. 5, are the top two money winners playing in this week’s Utah Championship, which begins today and runs through Sunday at Willow Creek Country Club in Sandy, Utah.

Kelly has won $205,149 and the top 25 earn their PGA Tour cards for 2012.

Kelly’s season stats on the Nationwide Tour are pretty impressive. Here’s a sample:

Kelly is seventh on the tour in scoring average (69.25), putting average (1.736 per hole), ninth in birdie average (4.28), 20th in reaching greens in regulation (71.70 percent), tied for 32nd in driving distance (302.4) with long drive of 347 yards (tied for 191st overall).

To check out all of his stats and to find more info on the former Central Kitsap golfer, click here.


Whitehurst, Jackson or Leinart?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Sounds like Matt Leinart will be one of the QBs who will challenge Charlie Whitehurst and Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. Mike Sando of ESPN.com analyzes the QB battle now that Matt Hasselbeck’s out of the picture.

I agree with most everything Steve Kelly writes in this column on Matt Hasselbeck. But I don’t think I’d pencil Jackson automatically as the starting QB.  I  think Charlie Whitehurst has a chance to be the starter. I know I’m in the minority here, but we still don’t really know how good (or bad) Whitehurst is. I thought he looked pretty good in the regular-season ending win that got the Hawks into the playoffs. Now he’s going into camp with a legit shot to win the starting job. Why’s everybody so down on Charlie? I don’t get it.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if Leinart isn’t on the roster at the start of the season. Leinart’s been a bust thus far, but  his old USC coach, Pete Carroll, might be able to get him back on track.

Mariners will honor the SuperSonics on Friday at Safeco Field. Maybe they ought to suit up Freddy Brown to see if he can hit the long ball as good as he could make the long ball. Put Gary “The Glove’ Payton at shortstop and let George Karl manage the game.

Chone Figgins is the game MVP for the M’s in their 17th straight loss. He was the only player not to strike out and he drove in Seattle’s only run with a fielder’s choice.

Hydros head to Tri Cities. Qualifying Friday. Racing Saturday and Sunday.

 


U.S. Junior Am: Wrapping it up

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

We’re a couple hours (OK, maybe four hours) from filing the final stories from the week-long U.S. Junior Amateur. Championship.

Dallas’ Jordan Spieth just left the interview room, lugging his silver championship cup. His name was engraved in 2009 and now it’ll be on their again, joining Eldrick “Tiger” Woods as the only multiple winner in the 64-year history of the event. Impressive golfer, impressive young man. He said the Olympic Course was good enough to play a U.S. Open on — and he was serious. Said you’d have to add some length, but the rough and the way hit hardened up in the sun today was U.S Open-like.

Talked to Adam Hanson, senior-to-be at Central Kitsap, who was Chelso Barrett’s caddie all week. Hanson said the week’s inspired him to get a little more serious about his golf game. He was down to a 2 handicap at one time, but ended up playing hockey this winter and wasn’t quite as dedicated as before. Barrett’s invited him to come back to New Hampshire for next summer’s Junior Am.

Mike Greller, a 34-year-old school teacher and caddie from Chambers Bay in University Place, hauled Spieth’s bag all week. Spieth’s headed to the University of Texas in Austin, and Greller popped for a Texas hat and wore it througout the tournament. Later he said, “I hate Texas.” He’s a Michigan fan, having grown up in that state. There’s a chance Greller might caddie for Spieth at next month’s U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills, Wis.

Here’s the the blow-by-blow, hole-by-hole, courtesy the USGA.

 

 


Junior Am: Final Day

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

It’s absolutely gorgeous out here today. Favored Jordan Spieth and Chelso Barrett are just finishing the first nine holes. Spieth, who lost the first two holes, got back to even on six and took the lead on eight. He’s 1 up after nine.

The USGA is blogging hole-by-hole. If you’re not coming out, that’s probably the best way to follow the match. I’ll be heading out to the course shortly.

I’ll also be tweeting some updates and thoughts from the course.

It’s been an amazing week of golf thus far. About the only thing that could top what’s preceeded it is for this match to be decided on the 36th hole. No. 18, once again, would come into play. Do you drive it or hit an iron?

I know what I’d do. Of course, anybody who’s ever golfed with me knows how much I like my 3 iron.

Here’s links to stories you’ll find in our paper and online today:

Jordan Spieth and Chelso Barrett win in the semifinals.

My column talks about the dramatic finish to the Barrett/Echavarria match. I called it the best single moment in Gold Mountain golf history.

The Junior Am from the eyes of USGA and Gold Mountain officials.

Spieth put on quite a show in the semifinals, writes Ryan Lavner of Golfweek.

 


Junior Am semifinals: And they’re off …

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The Jordan Spieth-Adam Ball match is clearly the main event of the US Junor Amateur Championships this afternoon at Gold Mountain.

Dallas’ Spieth has been the big gun everyone’s talking about all week. You probably know his resume by now: 2009 US Junior Am champ; four-time participant in this tournament; played in the US Am last year at Chambers Bay; Polo All-American, made the cut twice and contended in PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic, tying for 16th in 2010 and 32nd this year.

Ball of Richmond, Va., is playing in his third Junior Am. Also played at Chambers Bay last year in Amateur. Dad is coach at Virginia Commonwealth, where his older brother also plays. Ball’s currently the hottest player in the field. He came from 3 down at 12 to win his quarterfinal match with a par, eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie finish. Ball was really good this morning in taking out medalist Beau Hossler 2 and 1. Spieth turns 18 on July 27. Ball is 17.

The other semi is today’s undercard: Colombia’s Nicolas Echavarria vs. Chelso Barrett of Keene, N.H. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen very little of both this week, but will be getting out of the clubhouse in a second to follow the afternoon matches. Echavarria’s coming off a third-place finish in the Junior World tourney in San Diego and is in his first USGA championship. Barrett won the 2010 New Hampshire and New England Junior Championships. Barrett lost ot Spieth in first round of 2010 Jr. Am. Barrett and Echavarria are both 16.

We’ll check back when they make the turn. Look for my tweets @cstarkkitsapsun.


Available on Kindle